Thursday, September 11, 2008

TWD - Malted Milk Chocolate Drops and Saratoga Wine & Food Festival

The recipe Q&A this week provided a warning that malted milk powder might be hard to find in the stores, but my neighborhood market had Olvatine – so it was no problem. My challenge was finding Whoppers. Tried three markets with no luck and it finally struck me that the local candy shop might have them. They didn’t carry Whoppers but something better – homemade malted milk balls – with a choice of milk or dark chocolate coating. Naturally, I picked the dark chocolate ones.

Ingredients in place, I quickly made up the batch of cookies. On Monday, I took the cookies to the office and everyone loved them -- one more great recipe from Dorie’s cookbook.

Last weekend, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center hosted a Wine and Food festival – culminating in the Grand Tasting on Saturday. What a terrific event. Many fine restaurants from the area and several hundred vineyards served samples. Even more fun was a special seminar and wine tasting hosted by Kevin Zraly and Burt Wolf. We tasted seven red wines – my favorites were the Brunello di Montalcino 2003 from Aleramici, the Barabaresco 2004 from Marchesi di Gresy and the Amarone Classico 2003 from Tedeschi. From the picture, there was a whole lot of sipping going on! The Wine and Food festival is the first weekend after Labor Day – can’t wait until next year’s edition.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

TWD - Got Milk??

Whether home-made cookies or mass produced oreos, cookies taste best when dunked in a glass of milk. Dorie’s peanut butter chocolate chip cookies especially taste good with a nice cold glass of milk.

Cookies and milk almost gone!

Two things about this week’s recipe were different than other chocolate chip cookie recipes I’ve made. You can find the recipe at Proceed with Caution. The first was the proportion of oatmeal and flour – the recipe called for 3 parts old-fashioned oatmeal and one part flour. Other recipes I’ve used have 2-3 cups of flour to one cup of oatmeal. The second was the addition of cinnamon and nutmeg. I’ve never made a chocolate chip or peanut butter cookie recipe with those spices and they are very prominent in the flavor of the final product. The flavor was not unpleasant but not exactly to my liking.

Cookies are so easy to make. The tricks are chilling the dough so they don’t bake so fast and hold together better and slightly under-baking the cookies. If a recipe calls for 15-17 minutes baking, I’ll usually bake them for 15 minutes. You have to know your oven and check that the cookies are nicely browned.

This was the last weekend of summer and I visited friends in Adamant, Vermont. I took a little short cut home – the Essex Ferry across Lake Champlain. It was a fantastic summer day and the sailors were out in force on the lake with the Adirondack Mountains to the west and Green Mountains to the east. Little Bess loved the journey.